The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved an additional early signing period on Monday, allowing recruits to sign their National Letters of Intent in late December.
The changes, which were approved by the NCAA Division I Council in April, will allow recruits to sign their National Letters of Intent in a 72-hour window from Dec. 20 to 22. The changes should allow smaller programs, mainly Group of 5 programs, to ink kids before they can flip to Power 5 programs later in the recruiting cycle. According to ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, 189 recruits decommitted in January 2017, many of which were recruits flipping from Group of 5 schools to Power 5 schools.
The changes are interesting for a few reasons, one of those being that the new signing period is right in the middle of bowl season. Coaches and teams are generally pretty busy during that time of year, and will have little time to recruit for kids signing in the early period. The changes could leave fewer and fewer recruits even taking multiple official visits, and should help teams avoid last-minute drama on Signing Day. Also, the changes will allow teams to fill up their classes sooner, meaning late bloomers might have less of a chance to catch on.